Dawson City: Frozen Time
This cinematic excavation story from writer/director/editor Bill Morrison pulls a clever bait and switch right off the bat: it begins as a conventional documentary, explaining how a treasure trove of long-thought-lost silent movies were unearthed in the title city (up in Yukon territory, in Canada), with dramatic discovery footage and talking-head interviews. And then that style is abandoned altogether, in favor of dreamlike music, on-screen text, and films of both newsreel and narrative stripes. Most surprisingly, Morrison decides to tell not just the story of the films (though there’s plenty of that – and not just of film as an art, but film as a substance), but of the place they were found, and the people who inhabited it. In other words, the three hundred-plus movies rescued from the ground are just the hook; this is the story of a modern city, and beyond that, a microcosm of contemporary urban life.